Sandoz mhealth hack to address healthcare access

Novartis’ biosimilars division Sandoz has launched a new global digital innovation competition encouraging young entrepreneurs to develop solutions to improve worldwide access to health services.

Sandoz HACk (Healthcare Access Challenge) is encouraging people between the ages of 18 and 35 to “re-imagine” healthcare and use today’s digital platforms to formulate new ways to tackle issues in healthcare access.

“As global healthcare costs continue to rise faster than economic growth, health access will not improve without a major collaborative effort to address the gap, driven by fresh thinking”, said Richard Francis, division head and CEO of Sandoz. “We believe that the biggest changes often come from amazing, small ideas and with the launch of Sandoz HACk we want to identify, promote and nurture creative ideas from around the world to help reimagine access to healthcare.”

While healthcare is developing rapidly thanks to new technology, there are still an estimated 2 billion people worldwide cannot access medicine they need, whilst 400 million lack access to essential health services.

One area the competition will particularly focus on this year is mobile health, or “mhealth” meaning innovations that harness technology such as new apps will be sought after.

Sandoz joins a number of other companies looking to introduce fresh approaches and thinking. Bayer’s Grant4Apps project has been ongoing since 2015 whilst Merck, Sharpe & Dohme and Wayra UK’s recently unveiled details of its 2017 Velocity Health programme, which will this year focus on diabetes and cancer.

The competition is in partnership with OpenIDEO – a global online community of innovators seeking solutions to the world’s biggest issues.

Once the competition closes on 30 November, six finalists will have their solutions published on OpenIDEO where they will be refined in partnership with the community. Finalists will then present their ideas to a judging panel at WIRED Health in London in 2017. Three winners will then be chosen and awarded seed funding and mentorship to further develop their concepts.

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